Pennsylvania Gov. Shafer Expected to Sign Bill on State Aid to Parochial Schools

The Pennsylvania Senate yesterday passed a bill to provide state aid for parochial schools. The measure permits state payment to non-public schools for purchase of secular services, including instruction in mathematics, modern foreign languages, physical sciences and physical education. The chief beneficiary of the measure, which Gov. Raymond P. Shafer said he would sign, are the Roman Catholic parochial schools which educate the bulk of the state’s 600,000 nonpublic school pupils. But Jewish parochial schools are also eligible for aid.

The measure won in the Senate by a 30 to 17 vote, with 25 required for passage. It now goes to the House of Representatives for concurrence in major amendments providing for financing. House acceptance is considered virtually certain. The bill, first of Its kind ever to reach the floor of the Penn-Slyvania legislative chambers, was opposed by civil libertarian and other groups, including some Jewish organizations, on grounds that it would violate the principle of separation of church and state. It was supported by Roman Catholic and Orthodox Jewish groups. State aid would become effective on July 1 and would be financed initially by $4.3 million from harness race track revenues.

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